Mount Mercy presents ‘A Birthday Celebration: Music of Chopin, Schumann, and Barber’

Mount Mercy University will celebrate the 200th birthdays of Frederic Chopin and Robert Schumann, and the 100th birthday of Samuel Barber with three special concerts held October 5 and 7 in Stello Performance Hall, Warde Hall. All performances are free and open to the public.

The music of some of the greatest composers in history will be given the spotlight as the Mount Mercy Choir and student soloists showcase the compositions of these famous composers. Special guest appearances from local talent will also be showcased during these unique musical ensembles. 

The concert “A Birthday Celebration: Chopin, Schumann, and Barber” will be performed on October 5 at Noon, and feature the Mount Mercy Choir and student soloists. Later that evening, enjoy “Solo Piano Music of Chopin” beginning at 7:30 p.m. on October 5 in the Chapel. The evening concert will feature pianist and composer Jonathan Tauscheck, music accompanist at Kirkwood Community College; Tony Nickle, Mount Mercy music instructor; and Joseph McKinley, pianist. An active composer, Tauscheck has written many works for solo piano which have been performed at liturgical services, weddings, and as commissions for ballet performances.  His current projects include orchestrating many of his works along with the completion of three piano concertos.  He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Iowa.

On Thursday, October 7, special guest artists John Muriello, baritone; Kimberly Roberts, soprano; and Janara Kellerman, mezzo soprano; will perform the compositions of Schumann Lieder and Samuel Barber, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The group makes up a variety of musical talent and diverse background experiences. Nickle serves on Mount Mercy’s music department and regularly plays with the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre and collaborates with many vocalists. McKinley is a graduate of the University of Iowa and the New England Conservatory. Muriello, who is on the voice faculty at The University of Iowa, has performed with the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre and has carried on a varied career in opera, operetta, musical theatre and concert work. He has performed with several contemporary music festivals, and has worked with the Skylight Opera Theatre, Opera Carolina, and Lyric Opera Cleveland, among others. Roberts, a member of the voice faculty at Simpson College, has performed with the Des Moines Metro Opera as well as served as a soprano soloist with the Oklahoma City Symphony, Fort Smith Symphony, and Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, among others. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Louisiana State University. Kellerman, a Cedar Rapids native, performs nationally and internationally, having recently finished a European solo concert tour, including performing at the World Premier of Robert Aldridge’s Parables with the Topeka Symphony. She has performed with the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, the Des Moines Metro Opera and continues to perform internationally.

Featured pieces of the October 7 evening performance include Schumann’s song cycles Frauenliebe und Leben, which translates to “A Woman’s Love and Life,” and Dichterliebe, which translates to “The Poet’s Love,” and Barber’s song cycle, “Hermit Songs.”

Featured Concerts:

A Birthday Festival: Music of Chopin, Schumann and Barber
October 5, Noon
Stello Performance Hall, Warde Hall

Solo Piano Music of Chopin
October 5, 7:30 p.m.
Stello Performance Hall, Warde Hall

Schumann Lieder and Barber Art Songs
October 7, 7:30 p.m.
Stello Performance Hall, Warde Hall


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